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Louis B. Hager First World War and various authors Second World War correspondence

 Collection — Box: WWI 15, Folder: 15-16, Folder: 1-2
Identifier: 2019-096-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains 28 correspondence to the Hager Family during the First World War and Second World War. The majority of the collection, 22 correspondence were written by Private Louis Hager, American Expeditionary Force to his brother Frank Hager during the First World War. The other six letters were written by various authors to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hager during the Second World War between January 1943 and July 1948. Also included are v-mail, postcards, empty envelopes, stationery, greeting cards, mess tickets, and meal ration stamps.

Pvt. Hager wrote about AEF camp while in Washington, D.C. After he moved to Virginia for another camp, Pvt. Hager wrote about firing a rifle in the camp’s rifle range. He also described the several forts around DC and Virginia as well as the work going on around his camp, including building roads. Pvt. Hager’s cousin Carl arrived to the same camp, and Hagar wrote about their first moments together in the AEF. After not hearing from the family, Pvt. Hager then wrote home about his homesickness, and asked for mail and packages from home.

Within the letters, Sgt. Mark Ruffry, who was in France at the same time as Pvt. Hager, wrote to Frank about meeting Pvt. Hager for the first time.

Walter R. Zich, cousin of the Schmitz’s, wrote to Frank as well about having dinner with representatives of Chile and asking Frank to visit the camp.

Pvt. Hager continuously wrote about missing home or asking family not to forget about him. In a letter to Carl, Pvt. Hager asked about his mother and Frank. On Mother’s Day of 1918, Pvt. Hager wrote to his mother and Frank about his enjoyment of the last correspondence from them and how much he valued the family.

In a letter to Frank, he reminded his brother that he left a year ago and reminisced of times at home and asked about several friends and sent well wishes. In several correspondence from Pvt. Hager, he wrote “I hope you haven’t forgotten about me.” This phrase was mentioned across the range the letters were written.

On August 27, 1918 Pvt. Hager wrote to his sister. This letter included an update of “being on the move” while on his tour. He described the camp as peaceful and mentioned the ability to take a break and “first since the middle of July that was I really had my clothes off.” In the same letter, he wrote a few lines to his mother about wishing to be home with her. A letter from Frank is included in the collection where he notified Pvt. Hager about his induction into the Grand Aerie Fraternal Order of Eagles. The same letter also informed Pvt. Hager of the sudden passing of Ray Miller. Pvt. Hager replied taking the news hard and wrote about the sadness he felt from the passing and hardships of the war.

Christmas Day 1918, Pvt. Hagar was in Germany after being stationed in France as he described the differences of the two countries. He sent home a Christmas greeting card with his letter which meant a lot to him. For a brief time, the AEF was attached to the British army but had recently created their own American sector.

Pvt. Hager received a letter from his cousin, Walter, who also mentioned the feeling of homesickness and offered Pvt. Hager a time to visit since they were both in Germany at that time. Mail hadn’t come for a while so Pvt. Hager then wrote to Frank asking for updates on his life back at home. Pvt. Hager mentioned that life had been normal and he was treated “dandy.”

In another letter of March 1919, Pvt. Hager seemed upset as Frank mentioned him coming home soon despite Pvt. Hager saying that they were not coming home anytime soon. The last correspondence from Pvt. Hager wrote that he was not going to leave anytime soon as other divisions were deployed out on longer tours. He sent his best wishes to the family.

Correspondence in the Hagar Family continued in the Second World War with several soldiers. Frank Hager, now married to Edna Gerhardstein, had multiple children involved in the war.

January 7th, 1944 “Harp” wrote to his mother, Edna about his camp conditions and fellow troops. He had been working and going to school. He wrote about some of his fellow soldiers who did not go to school and were illiterate.

June 7, 1943, a family friend EM3 Thomas “Tommy” Laub, USN thanked Frank and Edna for an Easter card sent to him and provided updates on his promotion.

January 23, 1944 Frank and Edna received a letter from Pvt. Wayne Starr, USA where he stated that censorship for letters was going to be established and he would write when he could.

February 20, 1944 “Bill”, USA sent his condolences to Frank after the passing of his father. March 3, 1944 Pfc. Claude Smith, USA informed Edna of his leave to Australia.

April 18, 1944 Pvt. Starr wrote to Edna asking for updates on the family and brought up the lack of mail delivered from time to time.

April 1, 1944 Frank inquired on the status of his draft deferment.

Four empty envelopes with unknown dates were included. Also included are three valentine greetings are addressed to Frank Schmitz from Carl, Clarence, and an unknown sender. The blank “Merry Christmas” stationery, dated in 1918, is included. There are 2 mess tickets and a newspaper clipping titled “Last of A.E.F. Returns Home.” Ration stamps and coupons from the Second World War are also included.

Dates

  • 1917 June 10 - 1948 July 12
  • Majority of material found within 1917 June 10 - 1919 April 28
  • Majority of material found within 1943 January 7 - 1948 July 12

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Extent

.15 Linear feet (2 folders)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection contains 28 correspondence to the Hager Family during the First World War and Second World War. The majority of correspondence were written by Pvt. Louis Hager, AEF to his brother Frank Hager during the First World War. Six letters were written by various authors to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hager during the Second World War between January 1943 and July 1948. Also included are v-mail, postcards, empty envelopes, stationery, greeting cards, mess tickets, and meal ration stamps.

Arrangement

The first folder contains letters from Pvt. L Schmitz to Frank Schmitz during the First World War.

The second folder contains correspondence from various authors to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Schmitz during the Second World War.

All correspondence are organized in chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Norbert Schmitz on behalf of Rita June Hager Schmitz

Title
Finding Aid for the Louis B. Hager First World War and various authors Second World War correspondence
Status
Completed
Author
Emily Olague
Date
10/5/2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2022-04-13: The title of this finding aid was revised on April 13, 2022. The original title, and that of the accession, does not accurately portray the collection materials.

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Contact:
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States